Gambling Age

Gambling ages can vary from country to country whether you are playing online or offline.

It is reasonable to assume that most countries will have a ‘minimum age’ gambling law in place, which is generally 18 or 21, but there are a few countries where you will need to be 25 or worst still, gambling online or in land-based casinos is illegal. 

If you are traveling and you are under the age of 25, as a rule of thumb, it is always best to check the laws of gambling in the country you are visiting. The country could have different age limits than the country you are used to gambling in. 

  • Almost every country has a minimum gambling age
  • The legal age to gamble changes on a country by country basis
  • The most common legal age to gamble is between 18 and 21
  • Some countries require gamblers to be a minimum of 25
  • Gambling is illegal in some countries or within states/regions of a country

Are There Different Gambling Ages for Land-Based Versus Online Casinos?

There are no real differences between the legal age to gamble online and the legal age to gamble offline. Most countries will categorise different types of gambling and set a legal age to play those games regardless of whether you are playing online or offline. 

Most online casinos will ask for your date of birth when you sign up. If you are not old enough to gamble, then your sign-up will be rejected. Therefore, you would be hard pushed to create an account in this case and the only way to do so would be to give false information. 

Land-based casinos are also quite easy to figure out the minimum gambling age. In Europe, this is controlled on a country by country basis, while in the USA the state laws dictate the legal age you are required to reach before being able to enter a gambling establishment. 

In addition to all of this, some countries have a gambling age of 18, but all the casinos have set the age limit of patrons to 21, which is common in the Caribbean. 

  • Age limits for online and land-based gambling are generally the same
  • Online casinos require that you enter your DOB
  • Land-based casinos will have a minimum age policy

Are There Different Gambling Ages for Different Games?

There can be different gambling licenses issued depending on the type of game you play. Casinos table games, slots, lottery, scratch cards, and sports betting can often fall under different licenses that stipulate a different legal age to gamble for each. 

For instance, In the UK citizens only need to be 16 years of age to partake in the National Lottery, football pools, or to play scratch cards, but for casino games, you will need to be over 18 years of age. In the USA, different states allow different games to be played and different ages can apply to each of those games. 

  • Different age limits can apply to different types of gambling
  • In the USA some states allow one form of gambling and another state does not

What Is the Legal Age to Gamble in Europe?

Nearly all countries in Europe have a minimum gambling age of 18 for both online and land-based gambling including all forms of gambling. There are a few exceptions to this rule, which we have listed below. If we have not listed the country, this is because all gambling activities require participants to be 18 or older. 

United Kingdom:  Depending on the type of game you are playing, the legal age to gamble changes in the UK. There is no age limit for private or non-commercial gaming and betting. For games such as the National Lottery, over the counter scratch cards, and football pools, the minimum age is 16. There are also laws on arcade games such as coin pushing and teddy grabbing machines which the law states the person playing must be 16 or over. All other forms of gambling, online or land-based, have a minimum age of 18. 

Germany: Nearly all forms of gambling have a minimum age of 18 with the exception of two areas. These are the Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria areas where 21 is the minimum age to gamble in a land-based casino. 

Belgium: Since 2017 the legal age to gamble in Belgium is 21 years old for both online and land-based gambling. 

Greece: Amazingly Greece has set the bar to gamble legally to the age of 23 years old here no matter where you are from. 

Malta & Portugal: Malta and Portugal have the highest minimum age to gamble which is 25 years old. However, if you are a tourist visiting Portugal, then you can still gamble here at the age of 18. 

Jersey: You must over the age of 21 to gamble in Jersey. 

What Is the Legal Age to Gamble in the USA?

The USA has some of the most complex gambling laws in the world. The laws begin at a federal level, but then you also have individual state laws. As if this was not complicated enough to figure out, there are different laws that apply to different types of gambling that can change from state to state. 

Probably the easiest way to figure out the gambling laws in the USA is to treat each state as an individual country to make sure you stay within the boundaries of the law. Land-based gambling is generally accepted throughout the USA, but when it comes to online gambling, the laws are much more complex. 

If you plan to gamble in the US, check these laws for the states you plan to visit:

  • Bingo and Lottery
  • Online Gambling
  • Land-Based Casinos
  • Poker (online/offline)
  • Dog Racing/Horse Racing
  • Sports Betting in general

What Is the Legal Age to Gamble in Canada?

Canada allows online gambling, but different casinos are restricted to different areas. The same principle also applies to the laws that govern the minimum age to gamble. 

In most casinos, the minimum age is 19, but in Quebec, Alberta, and Manitoba the minimum age is only 18 years old. This applies to online gambling and land-based gambling. Then, when it comes to lottery, the laws change once again. The minimum age to play lottery games is 18 except for in the British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador, and Nova Scotia where the minimum age is 19.

What Is the Legal Age to Gamble in Oceania?

New Zealand and Australia have slightly different gambling laws, and much the same as other areas such as the UK, Europe and USA, the laws vary depending on the game you play. In both countries online casinos cannot have their operations based in New Zealand or Australia, and as such citizens are forced to play on overseas servers, which accept players that are 18 or over.

Australia: The legal age to gamble in the country is 18 for all types of gambling. Casinos, lottery, sportsbooks, and so on all have the same minimum age. There are plenty of land-based casinos and betting halls as well as online lotteries and sportsbooks readily available to Australian citizens. 

New Zealand: New Zealand’s gambling laws are slightly more complex than Australia’s. To gamble in a casino, you must be 20 years of age. To bet on horse racing, the legal age is only 18, and instant Kiwi (operated via the New Zealand Lotteries Commission) only requires participants to be 16. 

Gambling Age FAQs

Who regulates the gaming industry?

Each country has its own gambling regulators usually put in place by the government. This government department is responsible for setting the minimum gambling age on all games and for regulating the gambling entities making sure they are not encouraging underage gambling.

What happens if I am an underage gambler?

This really depends on the situation. If your online casino account is found out to be in breach of age restrictions, then you could have your money confiscated. If you are in a land-based casino and found to be underage, you will be removed from the premises. 

What are the legal implications of being caught gambling underage?

There are no real legal implications for being caught gambling underage in most countries. It is the betting service provider that will get in trouble. However, you could face fraud charges if you open an online casino account or enter a casino using a fake ID. 

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